A clear out­look

Lions Club mem­ber helped to col­lect close to 40,000 pairs of eye­glasses for Third World coun­tries

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE -

In­side Char­lie Corkum’s suit­case, among his cloth­ing and other items needed for a va­ca­tion in Cuba, were about 200 pairs of eye­glasses.

“Most of the re­sorts in Cuba have a nurs­ing sta­tion,” he said. “I took the glasses to give to the doc­tor. His eyes got that wide,” he said, ges­tur­ing with his hands. “He said, ‘We have a clinic right down the road.’ He was ex­cited and got the nurse; they re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated it.” around to pick them up, they’ll pack them and keep them for me,” he said.

More than 1,000 pairs are col­lected an­nu­ally. Corkum added, it would be a “ter­ri­ble waste” if the glasses weren’t given to new own­ers in need.

“Glasses are fairly ex­pen­sive. If they just went in the garbage it would be a shame be­cause some­one could use them.”

It’s a good feel­ing to do any act of kind­ness that ben­e­fits other peo­ple, he said.

“Ev­ery­one pitches in, and Lions are good that way. The pro­ject is im­por­tant to the club be­cause it helps other peo­ple, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Lions Club trea­surer Stew Ark­well said close to 8,000 pairs of eye­glasses cur­rently sit in boxes at the club.

The process has changed as the glasses are now sorted on the Is­land.

“You tell me how many other 90-year-olds are go­ing around and do­ing it. He has put an aw­ful lot of work into it over the years and an aw­ful lot of work into the Lions Club.” Stew Arkell, St. Eleanor’s Lions Club trea­surer

“We would ship them to Ed­mon­ton to be sorted there, and then they went off to var­i­ous Third World coun­tries. This will save us a lot of money on ship­ping.”

In­mates at the Sleepy Hol­low jail will sort all of the glasses, which is ex­pected to be­gin at the end of the month, he added.

Ark­well is im­pressed with Corkum’s hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“You tell me how many other 90-year-olds are go­ing around and do­ing it. He has put an aw­ful lot of work into it over the years and an aw­ful lot of work into the Lions Club.”

Lions Clubs around the world do­nate eye­glasses.

“Lions In­ter­na­tional sends op­tometrists down to fit the peo­ple for the eye­glasses. There are peo­ple who haven’t been able to see well their whole lives, and now they can be­cause of the eye­glasses that get shipped to them,” said Ark­well.

The club also works with lo­cal peo­ple who are blind or visu­ally im­paired, he added.

“We’re a ser­vice club and that’s what ser­vice clubs are about. It’s re­ward­ing to know you’re go­ing out and help­ing other peo­ple.”

ANCELENE MACKIN­NON/TC ME­DIA

St. Eleanor’s Lions Club mem­ber Char­lie Corkum sorts through one of the many boxes that con­tain close to 8,000 pairs of eye­glasses that will be shipped to those in need in Third World coun­tries.

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